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Solid timber installation explained: Direct stick

Installation of each and every solid timber floor is unique and dependent upon several factors including (but not limited to) the type and location of dwelling, substrate characteristics, ambient atmospheric conditions, choice of timber, type of coating, whether stairs are included and your choice of skirting/trim.

There are two distinct trades involved in the installation process being the installer, who physically lays the timber, and the sander, who sands and coats the floor. Below is an outline of the typical installation process for a solid timber floor.

Slab Preparation

Prior to commencement of works, the installer should, as a bare minimum, sweep and/or vacuum the concrete slab to ensure it is free of dust and other residue. In some instances grinding or levelling of an existing slab may also be required which would likely incur additional costs.

Moisture Barrier

The purpose of a moisture barrier (or primer) is to restrict vapour transmission between the concrete subfloor and timber flooring. A moisture barrier is always recommended, however is particularly important with a new slab which will typically have quite a high moisture content. There are several moisture barriers available on the market, most of which are generally applied to the clean and level concrete slab using a roller. This process is the job of the installer and typically speaking, a moisture barrier can be applied within one day.

Timber Installation

Once the moisture barrier has cured, the installer will apply glue to the concrete slab and starting from one end lay each row of boards utilising the tongue and groove profile to align the rows. Generally speaking an installation crew can lay approximately 30m2/day, however this is obviously dependant on the intricacy of each particular job.


Upon completion of installation, the floor should be left for minimum of five days before sanding to ensure the glue has hardened and timber acclimatised to the in-home environment. The sander will first level sand the floor and then vacuum/sweep any dust and other debris. The floor will then be filled as required, paying attention to nail holes, feature in the timber and any small gaps between boards. Once filling is complete, the entire floor is again sanded with a finer paper to ultimately achieve the finished surface. For a normal sized job, this process will take a few days and once complete the floor is ready for coating.


The coating process is dependent upon the finish chosen, which can sometimes include staining. The first step is for a sealer (or primer) to be rolled onto the floor, which is relatively easily done and dries quickly. Following a sealer, the first coat of your chosen finish is applied, generally on the same day, and is left to cure. The floor is then lightly rubbed back and spot filled prior to the second and final coat being applied. Once the second coat is touch dry, it is recommended that traffic be strictly limited to socks only for a period of seven days, allowing the coating to completely cure.

Trims / Skirting

The final step of installation (if applicable) is installation of your chosen edge trim or skirting. Provided care is taken, this can be done during the seven day curing period, or alternatively left until afterwards. In should be noted that, unless specifically stipulated, skirting will not be painted by timber flooring contractors.